Hot and cold therapy is a popular nonmedical treatment option for soft-tissue injuries that has been in use for centuries. This type of therapy is particularly common among athletes, who are highly susceptible to injuries. Apart from treating injuries, hot and cold therapy is also suitable for muscle recovery after rigorous exercises. However, many people who are new to this type of therapy don’t know what to do. This article shows you how to alternate between hot and cold therapy.
What Is Hot and Cold Therapy?
Just like the name suggests, hot and cold therapy is a type of treatment that combines and alternates cold and hot temperatures to relieve pain and promote faster healing. This treatment option has become popular because the risk is relatively low and the start-up cost is quite affordable. When you alternate between hot and cold therapy, you can treat your injury without causing muscle tension and spasm that are associated with cold therapy. This alternation is also important for preventing inflammation caused by heat.
Furthermore, alternating hot and cold therapy means that you will get relief for different types of pain as the injury continues to heal. It also enables you to reduce inflammation, stimulate blood flow, and loosen muscles, all with a single therapy.
How to Alternate Hot and Cold Therapy
Through a cautious alternation of hot and cold temperatures, you will be able to accomplish the desired results quickly and more effectively. Here are the important steps you need to follow when alternating your hot and cold therapy:
- Apply cold temperature on the affected area for one minute
- Switch to three minutes of hot temperature
- Use one minute of cold temperature
- Switch back to heat for about three minutes
- Apply cold temperature for one minute
- Heat the affected area for three minutes
- Wrap up the therapy session by applying cold temperature for one minute
This type of therapy should be undertaken once or twice a day, depending on the severity of your injury and the amount of pain and discomfort. To maximize the effects of your hot and cold therapy, there are several important things you need to do. For instance, you have to drink enough water and other fluids because the body heals faster when it’s fully hydrated. You should also protect your skin against extreme temperatures by covering it with a pad, and remember to stretch it when using heat therapy. For more information on hot and cold therapy, talk to Supply PT today.